Hooked: Rug Hooking Retreat 2025 with Rachelle LeBlanc

We are pleased to announce that registration for Hooked 2025 is now open.


Hooked is a curated two-day luxury rug hooking retreat and a wonderful opportunity to explore new approaches to your own artistic practice while working alongside internationally recognized handhooked textile artist and sculptor, Rachelle LeBlanc.

 LeBlanc will share her diverse knowledge through discussions and provide insight into her own process as inspiration for creative growth and exchange. The retreat will include an artist talk, on-site wool boutique, pop up exhibition and ample time to delve into your own work while enjoying all the amenities of the Hockley Valley Resort, a glamorous boutique resort located in the Hills of Headwaters, in the heart of Ontario’s most picturesque countryside. 

Event Date:  Tuesday April 1st – Wednesday April 2nd 2025

 Your Hosts  Martina Lesar Hooked Rug Studio and Bear Epp, Common Craft

Your Hooked Retreat Includes:                                                  

Two full days of rug hooking with guest artist and mentor Rachelle LeBlanc from Texas, USA. We will be spending our days in the Aida Room, a beautiful large space with abundant natural light from the garden doors which open onto the terrace overlooking scenic landscape and gardens.

All meals and snacks are included in the Retreat package.  Expect delicious farm-to-table organic culinary experiences. Vegetarian options are available upon request and your dietary restrictions will be accommodated if you notify us when you register.  Dinner will be served under the grand chandeliers in the beautiful Montclair Ballroom! A perfect setting for socializing, viewing the participant exhibition and Q&A with Rachelle. Included with your dinner are two complimentary cocktail/wine tickets and a cash bar will also be open during the evening gala.

Artist Talk  with  Rachelle LeBlanc. 

Working in textiles is a powerful form of discourse through which Rachelle communicates complex ideas about the role contemporary art practices can have in social and environmental reform. Her process also transforms and celebrates traditional skills while giving high importance to new innovative material processes that help her bring difficult conversations forward through craftivism and its unique role in effecting change.

Rachelle will aim to explore the profound impact of redefining modern art narratives through the medium of the hooked surface. Through an in-depth examination of rug hooking and its intersection with various textile art forms, she will reveal a diverse tapestry of mediums, and highlighting their enduring significance for the future.

Swag!    Upon your arrival you will receive a stunning selection of wool fabrics carefully chosen for the Hooked Retreat as well as other gifts and treats.

On-site Wool Boutique:  An exceptional selection of rug hooking wool fabric, fibers and supplies will be available for purchase during the retreat.  For your convenience, a Beeline cutter with a full range (#3-#8) of cartridge sizes will also be available for use.

A 25.00 spa voucher.  You will be able to use the voucher toward any treatments starting April 1st. RMT excluded.  Please book your treatment in advance.

About our retreat mentor Rachelle LeBlanc   

Textile artist Rachelle Leblanc’s hand hooked surface works blur the line between traditional craft and contemporary art.

Rachelle LeBlanc approaches her work like a painter approaches a canvas or a storyteller approaches a story, a surface upon which to build ideas and layers of meaning. The result is very process-oriented; however, her artmaking process shifted a few years ago when she created work for an exhibition made entirely of recycled textiles for the Robert Bateman Foundation. In doing so, Rachelle discovered the unique reuse quality added substance to the subject matter. She now incorporates recycled/upcycled materials and plastics in every new artwork.

Rachelle is a Canadian/American artist who grew up in rural New Brunswick. Her work is internationally recognized, and she holds a Fashion Technology and Design diploma from the Sheridan College Institute of Technology. She has also studied art at the Glassell School of Art in Houston, Texas. Rachelle has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout Canada, the United States, and Algiers, including the Robert Bateman Foundation Gallery, Art Gallery of Alberta, Alberta Craft Council, Harbourfront Center, Musée des Maître et Artisans du Québec, Yeiser Art Center, Stanford Art Gallery, and Lawndale Art Center. Rachelle is also a current member of the Art in Embassies program of the United States.

“Rachelle has the sensibility and vision of a modern artist, seeking to create perspectives that are new and exciting; she creates works of wonder that never fail to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.” Anne-Marie Littenberg Rug Hooking Magazine 

https://rachelleleblanc.com/          https://www.instagram.com/rachelleleblancart/

Hockley Valley Resort is a boutique resort, situated in the stunning countryside of the Hills of Headwaters just 45 minutes north of the GTA.  This contemporary, elegant resort offers beautiful guestrooms, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tub, sauna, gym and an 8000 square foot full service spa.  The resort also boasts an 18-hole championship golf course, 16 ski/snowboard runs , a winery, a two acre organic fruit and vegetable garden and back to nature walk/bike trails.

Hockley Valley Resort is less than an hour’s drive  from the Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and most of the Greater Toronto Area. It is easily accessible via many of Southern Ontario’s major highways.


The rooms are spacious and elegant.  Comfort is key with upgraded hotel amenities plus a sitting area with amazing views, writing table, a Keurig coffee machine, a flat screen tv with complimentary wifi and spa style bathroom.

As Retreat participants, you are responsible for booking your own hotel room. We have secured an incredible rate of 163.00 plus tax and fees per night for a single occupancy and 87.00 plus tax and fees per person for double occupancy.  We have also negotiated the same rate for anyone wanting to arrive on Monday or stay an extra night on Wednesday.   These rates are for  Hooked Retreat participants only  (more than 40% off regular price). 

Rates are valid for dates March 31st – April 3rd, 2025.  

To receive this special rate, you must first register for the Retreat.  Once registered we will provide you with the hotel booking code via email.

**Accommodations at the Hockley Valley Resort must be booked before February 1st 2025 to secure the retreat pricing . 

Please review the room cancellation policy for Hockley.

It is required that registrants must stay a minimum of one night (Tuesday night) at the resort.  If you are sharing a double occupancy room, you must provide the name of your room mate when booking your room

Cancellation and Vaccine Policy:

Health protocols will be followed based on the government requirements at the time of the retreat.

In the event that Hooked Retreat is forced to cancel due to unforeseen circumstance such as, but not limited to, acts of nature, labor strikes, pandemics,  100% of your paid fees will be returned to you. Please note all refunds take a minimum of 14 days to process.  If you choose to cancel before February 1st, 2025, you will receive a 50% refund on your retreat investment. After February 1st, 2025 no monies will be refunded.  Room refunds fall under resort policies.  Please be aware of room cancellation charges.

There are no exceptions to this cancellation and refund policy, including for reasons related to weather, border restrictions, personal, family or medical emergencies or any other circumstances beyond our control. You may however re sell your retreat spot.  Refunds will not be issued should the borders close or if government travel restrictions prevent entry to Canada.

What to bring:

  • A rug hooking project, new or in progress  
  • You are welcome to bring your own cutter however, we will have a Beeline cutter on site with cartridges for cuts #3-#8.
  • A bathing suit for those who would like to indulge in the pool 
  • Your favourite hooked rug  for the evening rug display (optional)

Any further questions regarding the Hooked Retreat, please send us an email at studio@martinalesar.com

Hooked: Itinerary        

Day One

8:00 – 9:00 am         Arrive at Hockley Valley Resort.  You may check in at the front desk as you wont be able to get access to your room until 4:00 please consider leaving  your luggage in your car until your room when it is ready.  Bring in your rug hooking gear and go to Aida Room to drop off your rug hooking gear and receive your name tag.

8:00 -9:00 am  Continental breakfast is served in the Aida Room

9:00 am      Aida Room.  Introduction and artist talk.  Your day of rug hooking commences with your fellow participants.    Morning refreshment with coffee/tea/beverages and baked goods will be available.

12:00 – 1:00 pm     A delicious buffet lunch is served in Restaurant 85. 

1:00 – 4:00           Rug hooking commences in the Aida Room.  Afternoon refreshments will be available while you continue to work on your projects

4:00 -6:00             Free time to indulge in the amenities of the Resort.  Indoor pool,  gym or book a treatment in the incredible 8000 sq ft. spa

6:00 – 10:00           Dinner and evening social in the Monctclair Ballroom and 2 complimentary glasses of wine or cocktails/mocktails. There will also be a cash bar.                                   A lively Q & A following up from the morning artist talk 

Day Two

7:00 – 9:00 am       Breakfast buffet is served in Restaurant 85 

8:00 – 12:00         Aida Room.  Your day of rug hooking commences with your fellow participants.  Resort staff will have prepared a refreshment table for you to enjoy throughout the morning session.  Remember to check out of your room before 11:00 am.

12:00 – 1:00pm    Buffet lunch is served in Restaurant 85

1:00 – 3:00pm     Rug hooking resumes in the Aida Room where Resort staff will make available afternoon refreshments.

Please note alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this retreat with the exception of 2 complimentary wine or cocktails at the dinner and evening social.

Hooked Retreat Registration Info:  Price 598.00 plus tax.  For room rates, see ‘accommodations’ above.

Click here to register

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